Adding Temperature Sensor Functionality To The CH32V003 MCU

As cheap as the WCH CH32V003 MCU is, its approximately $0.10 price tag looks far less attractive when you need to start adding on external ICs for missing basic features, such as temperature measurement. This is a feature that’s commonly found on even basic STM32 MCUs. Fear not though, as [eeucalyptus] shows, you can improvise a working solution by finding alternative sources that can act as a thermometer.

Plot of the temperature measurement using the improvised CH32V003 -based temperature sensor. (Credit: eeucalyptus)
Plot of the temperature measurement using the improvised CH32V003 -based temperature sensor. (Credit: eeucalyptus)

The CH32V003 is a low-end, 32-bit RISC-V-based MCU by the China-based Nanjing Qinheng Microelectronics, commonly known abbreviated as ‘WCH’, and featured on Hackaday previously. Although it features a single-core, 48 MHz CPU, its selection of peripherals is fairly basic:

So how do you create an internal temperature sensor using just this? [eeucalyptus] figured that all that’s needed is to measure the drift between two internal clocks – such as the LSI and HSI – as temperatures change and use this to calibrate a temperature graph.

Unfortunately, the LSI isn’t readily accessible, even through the Timer peripheral. This left the AWU (automatic wake-up unit) which also uses the LSI as a clock source. By letting it go to sleep and wake up after N LSI cycles, the AWU enabled indirect access to the LSI.

Internal diagram of the CH32V003 MCU. (Credit: WCH)
Internal diagram of the CH32V003 MCU. (Credit: WCH)

After calibrating against room temperature (~22 °C) and ice water (0 °C), a temperature plot was obtained, which could conceivably be somewhat accurate. As [eeucalyptus] warns, this is a kind of calibration that likely differs per MCU, and no attempt to quantify the absolute accuracy of this method has been made yet. Even so, as a crude temperature measurement, it might just be good enough.

What Parts Should You Desolder?

A rite of passage for a young electronics enthusiast used to be collecting an array of surplus boards from whatever could be found, and using them as sources of parts to desolder. It was possible with a bit of work and searching to build all manner of electronic projects without spending much at all.  Many hardware hackers know their way around consumer electronics from the decade before their teenage years as a result. Secondhand components can still be used, but the type of components to be found has changed, as well as those needed. [ElectricMonkeyBrain] takes a look, and asks “What should you desolder?”.

As a general rule, he lands on the premise that it’s worth hanging on to the expensive stuff rather than the cheap stuff. Large capacitors, power semiconductors, and inductors aren’t cheap at all, and in the case of the inductors they can yield both ferrite parts and enameled wire for rewinding to suit. We’re surprised that he advocates holding on to electrolytic capacitors as a kit of many values is now pretty cheap, but it’s understandable that if you lack the part and it’s there on a motherboard in front of you, it’s worth desoldering. Finally, he discusses cases, something we’ve been tempted by a few times more than we’d like to mention.

In a world of easy online ordering, it’s useful to be reminded that sometimes there’s still space for salvaged parts, after all, no delivery service is as quick as reaching under your bench for an old ATX power supply to raid. As always though, don’t amass too much of it.

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Hackaday Links: November 5, 2023

As I write this, Supercon 2023 is in full swing down in Pasadena — 80 degrees and sunny at the moment, as opposed to 50 and pouring rain where I am, not that I’m bitter. Luckily, though, we can all follow along with the proceedings thanks to the livestreams on the Hackaday channel, which of course will all be available once they’re edited in case you miss anything live. There are a ton of interesting talks coming up, so there’ll be a lot to catch up on when the dust settles. And that won’t be far from now; by the time this post publishes, Supercon will be all but over, which makes it the Thanksgiving dinner of cons — all that work and it’s over in just a few minutes.

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Servo Claw Game Puts Your Muscles To The Test

As fun as claw games are, the jaws are always disappointingly weak, and you usually end up with bupkis. What if the jaws were completely within your  control? That’s the idea behind [Upside Down Labs]’ muscle-controlled servo claw game.

While electromyography (EMG) is great for identifying neuro-muscular abnormalities and allows for amazing prosthetic limbs to work, it can also be used for fun. As you’ll see in the video after the break, accurate block-stacking (and possible candy-grabbing) depends on teamwork and tensed muscles.

Though the user provides the muscle, the brains behind this operation is an Arduino Uno with a Muscle BioAmp shield stacked on top, which [Upside Down Labs] also created. This shield makes it ridiculously easy to connect EMG sensors and other I²C devices like screens and, well, servo claws. From there, it’s really just a matter of printing the claw, connecting it to a 9g servo, and using an accompanying kit to prepare the skin and connect the muscles to the Arduino. Be sure to check it out in tense block-stacking action after the break.

If you want to listen in on your muscles, look no further than the BioAmp EMG Pill.

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Reducing Poop On Multicolor Prints

While multicolor printing eliminates painting steps and produces vibrant objects, there are two significant downsides; filament consumption and print time. A single-nozzle filament printer needs to switch from one color to another, and doing so involves switching to the other filament and then purging the transition filament that contains a mixture of both colors, before resuming the print with the clean new color.

[teachingtech] tests out a variety of methods for reducing print time and waste. One surprising result was that purging into the infill didn’t result in significant savings, even when the infill was as high as 50%. Things that did have a positive effect included reducing the amount of purge per transition based on light to dark color changes, and printing multiple copies at once so that even though the total amount of waste was the same as a single part, the waste per part was reduced.

All of the tests were with the same model, which had 229 color changes within a small part, so your mileage may vary, but it’s an interesting investigation into some of the deeper settings within the slicer. Reducing filament waste and print time is an admirable goal, and if you make your own extruder, you can turn all of that purge waste into various shades of greenish brownish filament. Continue reading “Reducing Poop On Multicolor Prints”

Oh, The Places You’ll Go With Stop Motion Animation

Robots made of broken toy parts, stop-motion animation, and a great song to tie it all together were not on our bingo card for 2023, but the results are perfect. [Mootroidxproductions] recently released the official music video for I Fight Dragons 2019 song “Oh the Places You’ll Go”.

The song was written by lead vocalist [Brian Mazzaferri] with inspiration from the classic Dr. Seuss book. [Brian] wrote it for his newborn daughter, and we’re pretty sure it will hit any parent right in the feels.

[Mootroidxproductions] isn’t a parent themselves, but they expanded on the theme to create a video about sacrificing oneself to save a loved one. With a self deprecating wit, they take us through the process of turning broken Bionicle parts, bits of Gundam, Lego, and, armature wire to make the two robots in the film. He also explains how he converted garbage into sets, greebles, and lighting effects.

The robots had to be designed so that they could fulfill their roles in the film. From the size of their hands down to their individual walking gaits, he thought of everything. His encyclopedic knowledge of Bionicle parts is also on full display as he explains the origin of the major parts used to build “Little Blue” and “Sherman”

Click through the break for both the main video and the behind-the-scenes production.

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Perfect Dark: Recompiled

There’s an interesting renaissance of Nintendo 64 gaming, powered by the ability to decompile N64 ROMs back into C code using Ghidra. There are projects around multiple classic games, taking the Ghidra output and renaming the generic function and variable names. There are two approaches to these projects, sometimes happening in parallel. The first is to perfectly recreate the original work, and get a bit-perfect binary that matches the original ROM. The other approach is to fix bugs, optimize the code, and add new features, often porting to new platforms in the process. Right now, we’re seeing the latter happen with 2000’s Perfect Dark.

There is a project by [Ryan Dwyer] to produce a matching C codebase, and that project is functionally complete with an over 99% bit-perfect output. But as impressive as that is, we’re interested in making code even better, and that’s what [fgsfdsfgs] has accomplished with the Perfect Dark port.

The game now runs on Windows or Linux, has mouse support, and runs at a solid 60 frames per second (FPS) at multiple screen resolutions. Want an ultra-widescreen Perfect Dark experience? The upgraded rendering engine handles it wonderfully. Mods? No problem. In the future, the developer is also looking to support high-definition textures.

To play, you do have to provide your own legally sourced copy of the original Perfect Dark game. That is the only way this project is remotely legal, and we suspect that even then it’s in a somewhat grey zone, as a derivative work of a copyrighted game. Big N hasn’t shut the project down, but the Mario 64 port was killed for attempting the same thing. We’ll hope for the best, and enjoy the nostalgia trip in the meanwhile!